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Borealis saving London 120 million litres of water a day



10. June 2009

Austrian plastics manufacturer Borealis is at the heart of Thames Water's plan to save 120 million litres of water per day by replacing 1,600km of water mains in the capital. Thames Water's will use polyethylene piping from Borealis, specifically designed for large-diameter mains pipelines.

Thames Water is responsible for a 17,000km mains network, half of which is over 100 years old and a third of which is over 150 years old and in urgent need of replacement. The water utility has turned to Austrian plastics manufacturer Borealis to help modernise the mains network and save up to 120 million litres of water per day.

The oldest parts of the system are constructed from cast iron pipes and date from the 1850s. Although Thames Water detects and repairs up to 200 leaks a day, up to 30% of the drinking water supply was being lost through leakage from the Victorian water mains network. Projected growth in the capital's population from 7.3 million to 8.1 million made leakage reduction a priority for Thames. A continued period of drought in South East England has increased the need to conserve resources.
As a result Thames is running a programme to replace 1600km of old pipes by 2010 and it has chosen Austrian plastics manufacturer Borealis to supply the new polyethylene distribution mains. The large diameter, drinking water pressure mains are made using Borsafe®, a PE100 material that is specifically designed for large-diameter drinking water pressure pipes. As a welded material, PE is unaffected by ground movement caused by shrinkage or heavy traffic. The solution will eliminate a large part of the primary source of leakage in the London mains network.